Today I saw Centennial under a light layer of snow, some flurries were still falling as I walked to the spot. I spotted some squirrels along the way but not a single chipmunk, indicating that the chipmunks have begun their hibernation. Thats not to say chipmunks are MIA in the winter, they wake every few days to eat and raise their body temperature. I must have caught the chipmunk inhabitants of Centennial on their nap days. In fact, I watched one of their burrows for several minutes in hopes one would come out but that was not the case.
Spending time in a certain area naturally makes you wonder what the land used to look like, who lived their before and all the people who gazed on the same sights as yourself. According to Burlington Geographic, Centennial Woods as a whole used to be privately owned by several different people. A map I found in UVM Special collections confirms that one of these owners was the Ainsworth Family around 1980. However, I was hard pressed to find a description of what the land was for but I can only assume a plot of land so large was either an estate or used for agricultural purposes. Thinking in terms of the time period (1980) it was most likely dairy farming rather than sheep for Merino Wool. This inference is backed up by the fact that barbed wire can be found at parts of centennial woods, which could have kept animals enclosed in a pasture. Additionally, my particular spot is made up primarily of White Pines which signifies stand youth, since white pine is a species common to second succession. All of these factors together imply that the land was once cleared, most likely for pasture.
It’s been so fun getting to know Centennial Woods through humidity, beautiful autumnal leaves and snow! I hope I get to keep coming back.
Centennial Woods Natural Area. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, 1993.
http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmsc/Centennial%20Woods/Centennial_Woods_Survey_1993.jpg (accessed December 02, 2018)
The Changing Landscapes of Centennial Woods Natural Area: A Field Guide [PDF]. University of Vermont Natural Areas. University of Vermont Environmental Program, http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmsc/Centennial%20Woods/Changing_Landscapes_Centennial_Woods002.pdf.